Mon., 10pm: Authorities: 5 hikers killed by Colo. rock slide
SALIDA, Colo. (AP) – Five hikers were killed by a rock slide on a trail in south-central Colorado on Monday, and another was pulled out with injuries and flown to a hospital, authorities said.
The Chaffee (CHAY’-fee) County Sheriff’s Department said recovery would wait until Tuesday to make sure the area is safe.
The department dismissed an earlier report that there was a seventh hiker unaccounted for.
Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Monica Broaddus said rescuers left the mountain before dark Monday. She said the recovery effort would wait until likely Tuesday afternoon, after an engineer could survey the slide area to make sure it’s safe to remove the bodies.
There was no immediate identification of the victims. A 13-year-old girl who survived the slide was flown to a hospital in Denver for treatment.
The slide occurred at about 11 a.m. on the trail to Agnes Vaille (VAYL) falls in the Pike and San Isabel National Forest, an easy day hike about a 2 1/2 hour drive southwest of Denver.
The trail is below Mount Princeton, a 14,197-foot peak. The National Forest Service describes the trail as short and relatively easy.
The trail is one of the first hikes recommended to people new to the area and is also popular with tourists, said Margaret Dean, a regular hiker who has hiked the trail with her 7-year-old grandson.
Dean, a copy assistant at The Mountain Mail newspaper in Salida, said the trail is easily accessible and provides a view of the falls and the Chalk Creek Valley in the Collegiate Peaks, which contains many mountains over 14,000-feet tall.
Agnes Vaille, the waterfall’s namesake, was a Denver mountaineer who died in 1925 while attempting a difficult winter climb of Longs Peak, elevation 14,259 feet.